So this post has been in my drafts for months now. I wrote it during the summer but didn’t feel like I was ready to put it up on the blog. Then today as I was driving to drop my kids off at school local DJ’s were talking about something on the radio that caught my attention. I heard one of the DJ’s speak about someone was checking themselves into treatment for postpartum depression (later found out this is Hayden Panettiere) and in not so many words stated that he thought she should just suck it up and keep being a mom. He felt that her checking into a facility to get help for her depression was somehow a cop out or selfish. There was a broader and more cohesive conversation that ensued but the attitude and comments of this young male DJ made me remember how widespread and uninformed ones feelings tend to be about mental illness and more specifically about depression.
I have been open on this blog about my scuffles with depression and postpartum. It is something that would be easier not to have to battle but I do. Mental illness the name in and of itself always bothers me. Mental illness…sick mind…mind isn’t well…crazy person. I don’t feel as though I am any of these things yet that is the lens with which people view you through when you are a human with depression. I was first put on anti-depressants when I was in high school and this continued much into my adult life. By all definitions I have every right to be depressed but I never wanted to be depressed and I didn’t choose to have depression. I don’t think anyone does. Depression is like this slow stealth creeping of sadness. It rarely happens all at once. It’s more like slow drops in a tin bucket and then one day you realize that you’ve been holding this bucket for far too long and it has now become so heavy that if you don’t do something to get relief from holding it right now you will internally combust. It feels urgent and helpless and overwhelming and exhausted all at the same time. It is not something that you can just simply try harder to get it to stop. It is a constant battle between what you authentically feel and what is deemed acceptable to feel and the two are never congruent.
For many years I accepted the societal stigma that accompanies having depression. I kept my melees to myself because embracing or talking about depression isn’t common or generally acceptable. Unapologetically owning or having open conversations about depression makes other people feel uncomfortable and act awkward. As soon as someone obtains this fact about you a barrage of judgments and ideas fill their minds. You go from being looked at as normal to being looked at as damaged. You get this overwhelming expression of melancholy from others because of your condition. The outcry of “I am so so sorry for you” to me is just quite aggravating. The problem with “I am so so sorry for you” is that it assumes that the person feeling sorry has somehow been spared from depression and its reaches. I’m not saying that every person has depression. What I am saying is that the statistics on depression are actually kind of astounding and the chance that you or someone that you really care about is travailing from depression is highly likely.
1 in 5 adults have experienced depression in the last year and a